Palace stresses mediation role in PAL-pilots row

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Tuesday said Malacañang is aware that public interest is involved in the dispute between Philippine Airlines (PAL) and its pilots so that it has taken cognizance of the problem and ordered multi-agency mediation efforts.

Lacierda however clarified that the dispute is still at a point where it can be settled amicably without the need for laying out the basis of government intervention for reasons of national interest.

“Under the Labor Code, the secretary of labor can step into a particular controversy by way of national interest,” Lacierda said but stressed that the PAL-pilots’ row will be settled mutually.

In a Palace news briefing, Lacierda said the overriding concern of President Benigno S. Aquino III in ordering a meeting between PAL pilots and the management with facilitation by some Cabinet secretaries, is the interest of the riding public and some sectors of the economy who will be severely affected should the impasse continue.

President Aquino has ordered Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and the secretaries of the Department of Transport and Communication (DOTC), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to meet today with PAL representatives to get to the bottom of the issue.

A number of PAL flights have been cancelled due to the dispute, which started when 25 pilots decided to move to higher paying jobs abroad. In the last two days alone, PAL had cancelled regional and domestic flights after 13 captains and 12 first officers resigned their posts to join Airlines abroad that offered more lucrative deals.

The President reminded both the management of PAL and the pilots who sought resignation that they have an obligation to the public. (PIA-Bohol)

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